Andrea Harner
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July 28, 2009

Amazing. How to make a bento box lunch - I will make this every day for my boys.

Thanks to reader Rita for the link!

April 30, 2009

Jyangara Ramen. Craving it. SO BADLY.

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* Photo from summer 2007: Drool warning.

Ramen shop at 6 am in Shibuya. I love this picture. Partying until morning then eating noodles - those were the days!!!

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April 6, 2009

I miss Japan: Parade envy

Kawasaki parade.

March 19, 2009

Nakameguro: Still Hip After Blossoms Fade in Tokyo By Jamie Brisick, NY Times. I MISS JAPAN series!

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Up until a few years ago, Nakameguro was best known for the narrow, cherry tree-lined Meguro River, which bisects the neighborhood and draws tourists from all corners of Japan, particularly during the spring festival season. Then came the cafes, restaurants, bars and boutiques, most of which are low-key and laid-back, especially when compared with the hustle and bustle in nearby Shibuya.

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Today, Nakameguro has gained a reputation as one of Tokyo’s hippest neighborhoods, a harmonious melding of old and new, urban and rustic.

“It’s a hub of celebrities, musicians, designers and comedians,” said Fraser Cooke, who moved to Nakameguro from London three years ago to work as Nike’s global-brand energy leader. “It’s tipped as a major hot spot in the design community, more foreigners live here than ever before, and there’s new restaurants popping up everywhere.”

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One of those restaurants, Kijima (1-23-3 Aobadai Towa Building, 3F; 81-3-5720-7366), opened in May; specialties include a delicious shabu shabu salad (1,200 yen, $12.03 at 99.78 yen to the dollar) and kakuni (simmered pork belly; 1,000 yen), as well as nikujaga (beef, potato and onion stew; 1,200 yen), which is finished at your table by a kimono-clad waitress. Kijima’s sliding doors, black walls and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the cherry trees create a vibe that is both elegant and earthy.

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Across the river, Higashiya (1-13-12 Aobadai; 81-3-5428-1717; www.higashiya.com) approaches sweets with the same pageantry and detail that Tiffany & Company brings to jewelry. Their exquisite mochi, balls of gelatinous rice filled with edamame paste (300 yen), are eaten not with chopsticks, but a smooth wooden knife that’s as sculptural as it is functional. Handmade ceramics and minimalist décor create an experience that induces calm and serenity, and hints at the ancient tradition of the Japanese tea ceremony.

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The LED-streaming signage that ribbons the walls of Cow Books (1-14-11 Aobadai; 81-3-5459-1747; www.cowbooks.jp) is thoroughly modern (during a recent visit, it repeatedly displayed the phrase “Book Bless You”), but the rare, out-of-print and first editions that fill the shelves point more to the 1950s and ’60s. Specializing in the Beats, psychedelia, and writers like Richard Brautigan, the satirist author of “Trout Fishing in America,” the shop is a veritable shrine to Japan’s peculiar, nuanced fascination with Americana.

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The owners of Madeleine (1-25-5, Aobadai; 81-090-3500-0560) make a mean latte (390 yen). But perhaps more intriguingly, they do so in the back seat of a cream-colored vintage Citroën — located a literal stone’s throw from Cow Books, just across the Meguro — and serve it out of the rear hatch, which has been converted into a sort of makeshift cafe counter. It’s this kind of resourcefulness that gives the neighborhood its creative, youthful energy.

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“Nakameguro is like its own small village,” says Hideaki Ishii, the dreadlocked proprietor of Research (1-14-11, Cooperative House Aobadai 105; 81-3-5459-4699; www.sett.co.jp), a clothing boutique that changes not only its collection each season, but its name too.

“Everything we need is right here — supermarket, bars, restaurants, record store, Thursday night D.J.’s,” said Mr. Ishii. “It’s gotten so that the locals don’t even leave anymore.”

February 23, 2009

Inochi: Your daily dose of Japanese weirdness

* via BuzzFeed.

February 3, 2009

Robotic Crib Takes Care of Your Baby so You Can Go Out Drinking

It appears to work!

* Thanks Chelsea!

January 21, 2009

Japanese woman breastfeeds kitty. Thank you Japanese TV & BuzzFeed!!

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January 17, 2009

Leni Yoshida: One of my two kawaii Japanese nieces!

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January 10, 2009

Japanese man in blackface impersonates Louis Armstrong/Who needs the Internets when there's Japanese TV?

You know it's authentically Japanese because "bloom" is "broom". He is actually amazing. Be sure to check out the Japanese people recreate "We are the World" video linked in the comments too.

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December 17, 2008

Reiko and her baby daughter Leon!!

Do we need any more proof that Asian babies are the cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutest????!!!

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December 8, 2008

Japanese commuters told to be courteous as standards fall, Telegraph

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Five years ago, it would have been unthinkable for passengers on Japan's crowded trains to witness a female office worker applying make-up on her way to work. But now, grooming in public is commonplace. For some, such behaviour reflects the fact that the politeness and courtesy that was a trademark of Japanese society are fading fast.

Standards are falling so rapidly that Japan Railways has just launched a poster campaign urging women to "Please do it at home" – put their make-up on, that is.

"I would have to say that levels of inconsideration have accelerated in the last five years or so," said Toshiko Marks, a professor of multicultural understanding at Shumei University. "I first saw a young woman applying her make-up on a train about five years ago but now it is an everyday sight," she said. "I even see people on trains eating food that has a strong smell, such as noodles, which means everyone has to put up with it."

Professor Marks said that the worst culprits are youngsters in their teens and twenties, and that women are the greater offenders.

"Japanese women used to use different words to men, a more polite and feminine version of the language, but that has completely disappeared, and even television announcers now use words traditionally used by men," said the professor.

But not everyone sees the new-found willingness to speak out as negative.

"There is a whole trend towards informality, and people here are finally relaxing," said Nicole Fall, a trend director with consumer intelligence agency Five By Fifty. "Before, young people were under pressure to act in a certain way, but we are advising clients now that they need to get rid of the formality in their offices because they're not getting through to their own staff and they're not getting through to a whole range of young clients.

"And if you can't connect, then you're just building barriers," she said. "Young people have become freer and that means Japan is more democratic. It's a sign that the country has progressed."

While this means that commuters now rarely apologise for inadvertently treading on a toe, there is a more sinister aspect. Men seem more ready to argue and even come to blows than before.

Masao Nakabayashi, of the Aiiku Hospital's Maternal and Child Health Centre, said that his department had reported 13 "monster husband" incidents in the first half of the year alone, in which many fathers-to-be have become aggressive. A record of the increasing violence to staff have only been kept for the past two years; before this, it wasn't deemed an issue.

"Parents used to have time to teach their children respect – we could actually call it common sense – but mothers and fathers now both have to work and are too busy to nurture and raise children in the right way," said Professor Marks. "People say they are frightened they will be attacked if they get involved in a situation. And that leads to another great Japanese tradition: pretending that if you can't see anything, then nothing is happening."

That reluctance to get involved, claimed the professor, means that people who put their feet on seats or shave on a train are not being shamed into reconsidering their actions – which in turn reinforces the notion that what they are doing is acceptable.

September 22, 2008

Japanese man charged with dumping silicone girlfriend

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Breaking up is hard to do, and few know this better than a lifelike sex doll owner who Shizuoka police have charged with illegal dumping.

On August 21, the 60-year-old unemployed resident of Izu (Shizuoka prefecture) wrapped his 1.7-meter tall, 50-kilogram silicone girlfriend in a sleeping bag, drove to a remote wooded area, and dumped her. A nice, clean break, he thought.

But nearly two weeks later, on September 1, a couple alerted police after discovering what appeared to be a corpse while walking their dog. The body had been wrapped in a bag and bound around the neck, waist and ankles. A head of black hair protruded from one end of the bag.

Police retrieved the body and immediately launched a criminal investigation. But several hours later, when forensic pathologists began to unwrap the “corpse” to perform the post-mortem, they realized it was actually a state-of-the-art sex doll. Seeing themselves as victims of a malicious prank, the authorities vowed to track down the perpetrator and charge him with interfering with police business.

The incident quickly captured the attention of the national (and international) press. After seeing the news reports, the culprit realized the trouble he had caused and contacted police on September 6.

According to investigators, the man had lived with the sophisticated doll for several years after his wife passed away, but decided to part with her after making plans to move in with one of his children. “It seems he grew attached to the doll over the years,” said the chief investigator. “He was confused about how to get rid of her. He thought it would be cruel to cut her up into pieces and throw her out with the trash, so he proceeded to dump her illegally.”

The man, who regrets his lifelike doll was mistaken for a corpse, now faces fines for violating Japan’s Waste Management Law.

* Here it is in Japanese.

August 19, 2008

Manga Avatar: Introducing AndreaHarner.com's. Where's yours?

Face your manga takes 2 seconds and voila, you're cuter than you'll ever be in real life - so worth it!

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August 4, 2008

I have nothing to say except I Love Japan

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Kaiten Sushi Cam!

I love this combination of technology, cultural anthropology, Japan and food!

* Thanks to reader Amy for this great link!!

July 24, 2008

Japanese chimps are extra smart

Chimp Steals Gun From Zookeeper In Japan: Watch the video!

July 23, 2008

When in Japan, burn all your skirts! Of course Japan created these posters!!

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June 20, 2008

Ramen Bath: My two loves combined!!!

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June 16, 2008

Japan, Seeking Trim Waists, Measures Millions by Norimitsu Onishi, NY Times

This article perfectly captures Japan and tickles my belly!

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April 10, 2008

Pining for Japan and Ramen. Hakone, Japan. Summer '07

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March 24, 2008

Cute, Echopraxic, Japanese Dog!

Thanks to my brother (who just landed in Tokyo) for this!

"Conan started to pose in prayer like us whenever he wanted treats," said Joei Yoshikuni, a priest at Jigenin temple on the southern island of Okinawa.

"Clasping hands is a basic action of Buddhist prayer to show appreciation. He may be showing his thanks for treats and walks," he said.

"He gets angry when somebody else sits on his favourite spot. He must be thinking that it's his special place," Oshiro said.

"I'm glad that people feel more comfortable visiting the temple because of Conan," he said as he jokingly joined his hands and bowed to the dog.

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February 25, 2008

Michelin Gives Stars, but Tokyo Turns Up Nose by Martin Fackler, NY Times

Never mess with the Japanese and food!!

“Japanese food was created here, and only Japanese know it,” Mr. Kadowaki said in an interview. “How can a bunch of foreigners show up and tell us what is good or bad?”

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February 21, 2008

First Black Enka Singer!

This is for my Japanese and Japanese wanna-be readers who will get how incredible/funny/revolutionary this is! Love when the hosts ask him how he got into it and he credits his Japanese grandmother from Yokohama (1/4 Asian! What my kids will be too!) and he's asked if he thought of pursuing hip-hop and he answers in a super Japanese way, "never."

* Thanks to my bro for the link!

February 20, 2008

Mark Wilkie just sent me this video with the message: I assume this show was made especially for you...

I love it when my friends know me well!

February 19, 2008

Candidate Wins Support in the East. No, Farther East. by Norimitsu Onishi, NY Times

Ganbare, Obama!

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January 25, 2008

Soy sauce dispensing chopsticks!!

LOLOLOLOL.

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January 10, 2008

Gyaru Girls: #53,991 reason I love Japan

Have you ever considered that gyaru girls are normal and we are weird????!!!

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For more on Gyaru Girls including videos click here

December 17, 2007

Shout out to BFFs Mod & Kei!

From the ages of 5 - 9 I lived in Nagoya, Japan, attended Nagoya International School and had a BFF named Mod Noranitipadungkarn (believe it or not I am still able to spell this correctly). From ages 10 - 12 I lived in Tokyo for the first of several stints in this great city, went to Seisen International School (an all-girls Catholic School!) and my BFF was Kei Petersen - our nicknames for each other were Flo and Fro...obviously. Well, within this past week I have reconnected with both of them! Mod is living in Bangkok and Kei lives here in NYC! It is so exciting. I especially liked being reminded by Mod that I used to "like Madonna and love to sing". Ummm, good to know my inner child is still alive!

Beware of perverts

While studying for my Criminal Behavior final I have later today I looked up a word I've never heard before - frottage in the context of sexual offenders and I found a sad state/sign of affairs in Japan:

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December 12, 2007

Sakasa Resuto (Upside Down Restaurant)

Only in the land I love!

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* Thanks to Della for the tip!

November 26, 2007

Outside Edge: However you slice it, Tokyo has taste by Gwen Robinson, Financial Times

Tokyo is truly home to the yummiest food on the entire planet - and not just Japanese food but every other type of food as well - AND from cheap to fancy and everything in between, you can't go wrong!! There are several reasons why this is the case - read ahead!

A national passion speaks volumes about a country’s collective psyche. Consider the English love of soccer, India’s of cricket, Australia’s mania for just about any sport, and Italy’s and France’s worship of food, wine and fashion.

But on all things gastronomic, perhaps no country is as passionate – and exacting – as Japan, where tea-making is a semi-religious ritual, pastry chefs can gain rock star status, and people will queue for hours to buy courgette-flavoured macaroons or the first special mushrooms of the season.

Michelin Guides revealed half of that story to the world this week when they awarded more of their famed stars to Tokyo restaurants (an unprecedented 191) than they have bestowed on any other city (including, mon Dieu, Paris) with the launch of their first guide outside Europe and America: the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2008.

But there is more to Japan’s food obsession than a huge array of top-quality restaurants. Consider a few facts:

More than one third of Japanese commercial television is devoted to food-related themes, from wacky eating competitions to earnest cooking programmes. On a per-capita basis, inner Tokyo (population 8.5m) boasts the highest concentration of eateries among the world’s major cities – just under 200,000, according to the Tokyo government, compared with about 20,000 restaurants for Paris and 23,000 for New York City. Japan now draws more Michelin-starred chefs than any country apart from France. Continue reading...

November 9, 2007

Kitty has a bike, Remote Blogging Series!

Thanks to Amy Wood for capturing this crazy-looking cat in Nakameguro, Tokyo!

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November 2, 2007

Leni Yoshida's closeup cuteness!

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Leni Yoshida loves izakayas, Japan summer '07

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October 19, 2007

Japanese Geisha English Lessons

This is so fantastic - thanks Zee!

Does Your Soul Have a Cold? by Mike Mills

I am so excited to see this film (psychology and Japan - what more could I ask for?!) which will air on IFC on Monday October 22 (thanks for the tip KO!) It is a documentary on Japan and the recent upsurge of anti-depressant use and tells its story through the eyes of five Japanese people taking anti-depressants (not surprisingly but certainly sadly only two out of five are concurrently doing therapy). Check out the following trailer and if it seems interesting, come by on Monday and we'll snuggle on our new humongous couch (thanks Duncan!)

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October 5, 2007

Lashes needed curling, Japan summer '07

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* On the Yurikamome.

Kyoto Koi, Japan summer '07

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* Kyoto.

Cute Kyoto Couple, Japan summer '07

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* Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto.

Blue-tailed lizard, Japan summer '07

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* Kyoto.

Kakigouri/Shaved Ice II, Japan summer '07

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* Kyoto.

Kakigouri/Shaved Ice I, Japan summer '07

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P.S. I have yet to encounter a shaved ice vendor who isn't visibly a little peeved at my request for extra strawberry syrup.

* Kyoto.

Sharing (osenbei/a rice cracker) is caring! Japan summer '07

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* On the Yurikamome.

October 4, 2007

My best friends, Japan summer '07

There was nothing these girls couldn't intellectualize! We had a blast!!

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* Shibuya, Japan.

Beauty tools, Japan summer '07

I have a big day of beautification ahead of me!! Tomorrow I will have an unbelievably firm face, neck and chin, tight calves and perky boobs...YES!

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* One of my favorite stores in the world, LOFT in Shibuya.

October 3, 2007

Women Only/Only in Japan Train Car, Japan summer '07

In reaction to the almost epidemic problem of males groping women during subway rides, women only train cars have emerged. The cars are women only during rush hour times because most of these crimes occurred during the densely packed rush hour commute. In such a conformist society it would be unheard of for a man to enter those cars so I believe they have been effective at keeping the perverts at bay. The most disturbing part of this problem was that apparently most women kept quiet while they were being sexually harassed/molested/abused because they didn't want to cause a scene and I'm guessing they didn't want to be subjected to the probably pan-cultural phenomenon of women having to prove their innocence in situations in which they themselves are the victims! With the advent of this new system can you imagine a woman's relief??!

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Dad checks it out...

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Brother is titillated. LOLOL.

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* On train ride home from Hakone hot springs vacay!

Hidden Tokyo by Julia Chaplin, NY Times

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The bars mentioned in the beginning of this article I serendipitously stumbled upon from the NY Times archives, are exactly the types of bars I love and seek out - nowhere near fancy nor pretentious, laid-back and intimate, and sprinkled with ghosts (real or imagined) of Japanese past.

Excerpt: Discreet, out-of-the-way bars have been a staple of Japanese culture for decades. Before World War II, Tokyo was filled with these pocket-sized dives — called nomiya (counter bars) — with space for just six or seven stools. Behind the counter was a proprietor, whose role was both confidant and caregiver to the regulars. When the city was rebuilt, however, most were bulldozed in favor of larger, glossier, more Westernized offerings.

Now a younger, postwar creative class is reviving nomiya culture — with a decidedly modern spin.

“I don't go out that often, but when I do, I like to go to these little secret places,” said the contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, tinkering with a trademark anime sculpture. “There is something very familiar and personal about them that I find comforting. They may have a modern design, but the feeling is more like traditional Japan.”

October 2, 2007

Cute pink look, Japan summer '07

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* Kyoto

Sleepytime in Kyoto, Japan summer '07

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Mom and her mags! Japan summer '07

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* En route to ride the yurikamome, buying our 2000th bottle of water or iced tea from a convenience store.

Guys! -> Accessorize!!! Japan summer '07

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* Man about to exit the Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto & Man en route to ride the yurikamome.

T-Shirt Talk, Japan summer '07

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* In Kyoto.

Mochi Soba & Mochi Udon

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* Soba in Kyoto, udon in Tokyo

September 26, 2007

Last night in Tokyo/Karaoke is the most fun thing ever!!!! Japan summer '07

The family that plays together, stays together couldn't be more true and karaoke is the best kind of play!

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September 21, 2007

Beastiality Restaurants in Japan - For Real???

Is this a hoax? I mean, if there were one place in the world this would happen, it would be Japan of course (Go, weird Japan!) but still...the first article claims that the same pig that was squealing a second ago (ew and poor pig) was roasted and served on a plate a few minutes later...the question is...how long does it take to roast a pig??? I think longer than a few minutes!! What do you think?

BuzzFeed
Bestiality Restaurants

September 18, 2007

How to spice up a family photo? Throw in peace signs! Japan summer '07

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Last night in Japan must begin at an Izakaya! Japan summer '07

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* At an izakaya called Hokkaido in Shibuya.

September 14, 2007

It is more fun than you can even imagine to fill in your brother's mustache with pen, Japan summer '07

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* In super great Hakone!

Family plus one! Japan summer '07

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* Hakone rulz.

September 12, 2007

Coffee Funny, Remote Blogging Series!

Coffee!!! Funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Coffee!!! Funny??????????????

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* More remote blogging from Brother & Mother in Japan please!!

September 10, 2007

Annie Harner's Awesome Japanese Salad

While in Japan last month my mom made the most delicious salad and then taught me how to make it. This was very exciting for me because I don't usually like salads but I realized that I actually do like salads as long as they are Japanese flavored salads! I made it for dinner the other night (I have a little ways to go to get it totally right) with a side of zaru soba and it was delicious and nutritious!!

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Ume Somen/Pink Plum Noodles are yummy & cute!, Japan summer '07

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September 6, 2007

Hello Kitty in Onsen Cell Phone Strap, Japan summer '07

My phone's never looked cuter and more relaxed...

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World's Smallest Fan

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* Part of a gift from Lily for my birthday 3 years ago!

World's Smallest Mirror

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* Mini-mirror present from my Mom - can be found at Yojiya!

September 4, 2007

I think people were wondering why two foreigners were harassing a Chinese lady, Japan summer '07

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* At the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Yebisu Garden Place.

No Keitai is No Life/No Cellphone is No Life, Japan summer '07

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* Harajuku/Meiji-Jingumae area

Mommy Loves Tokyo, Japan summer '07

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* Harajuku

My brother's preferred panties, Japan summer '07

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* Harajuku

Semi, Japan summer '07

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Brother & Sister, Japan summer '07

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* On walk from Shibuya to Aoyama

Jyangara Ramen, Japan summer '07

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* Jyangara Ramen in Harajuku/Meiji-Jingumae

There's always a line to something! Japan summer '07

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* Across from Jyangara Ramen, Harajuku/Meiji Jingumae

Nice skirt! Kinda...Japan summer '07

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* Shibuya's Dogenzaka area

Drying my hair in Sakuraya, Japan summer '07

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* Shibuya Sakuraya

Tokyo apt. bldg's trash room is cleaner and more orderly than my NYC apt., Japan summer '07

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August 31, 2007

Kyoto Kid, Japan summer '07

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BUTT BITING BUGS!! OSHIRI KAJIRI MUSHI!!

* MARK WILKIE, YOU ARE MY BFF FOR SENDING ME THIS.

McDonald's Wi-Fi Japan style, Japan summer '07

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* Kyoto train station

Mind Games Pension, Japan summer '07

...uuummm, I'd like to leave my mind games at home, thank you!

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* Kyoto

Multitasking Man, Japan summer '07

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* Kyoto

High literacy & strict recycling policies = lots of read magazines! Japan summer '07

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* Kyoto

August 30, 2007

Fruitcakes! Japan summer '07

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A Yukata never looked so cute, Japan summer '07

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* Syuri Yoshida, last night in Nagoya

Comfortable seating distance for two men, Japan summer '07

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* On Shinkansen from Nagoya to Kyoto

You can be whoever you want to be, Japan summer '07

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* Seian University of Art and Design ad

August 29, 2007

Japanese man waits for train, Japan summer '07

This picture should be proof enough that people of different cultures are so so so different. Can you even imagine an American being this early for his train, so properly and rigidly poised and patient?!!

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Train station good times, Japan summer '07

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He actually studies! Japan summer '07

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Boys and Trains, Japan summer '07

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Perfect obachan, Japan summer '07

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* Her wrists are bandaged due to arthritis :-(

Perfect cantaloupe, Japan summer '07

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August 28, 2007

Edward's Suit Dance Part II, Japan summer '07

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Style collision, Japan summer '07

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Nice blazer & tie! Japan summer '07

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* My brother Hiromi in Mitsukoshi department store in Sakae, Nagoya.

One's better dressed than the other, Japan summer '07

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Old and new and lots of it, Japan summer '07

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Cigarette break, Japan summer '07

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One person has better fashion sense, Japan summer '07

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* Sakae region of Nagoya.

August 27, 2007

Edward's Suit Dance Part I, Japan summer '07

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Tokugawa Art Museum & Tonkotsu Ramen, Japan summer '07

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August 24, 2007

Hinoki! Japanese Cypress! Japanese bathtubs!

Oh Hinoki...you make me weak in the knees...

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During our trip to Hakone last week we stayed in a ryokan with several onsen and rotenburo (outdoor hotsprings which are my preference). While my mom and I bathed ourselves before stepping into the rotenburo we used the hinoki oil infused shampoo and conditioner the inn provided and the smell was divine. I fell in love instantly. Then my mom told me all about hinoki, its antibacterial qualities and its use in construction including for bathtubs (the one we were about to step into was made of hinoki). Of course I had to ask, "but how can wood withstand so much water?" and the amazing answer is that it's resistant to rot - some claim for over 1000 years! Incredibly durable, healing and fragrant.

A promise to no one in particular: If and when Jonah and I move into a place we own I will have a hinoki tub made and installed - preferably outside!!

* So psyched that BuzzFeed covered this - to learn more check out these links!

Cuteness 101, Japan summer '07

1) Wear a summer hat
2) Hold your sister's hand
3) Have a lightness in your step
4) Nonchalantly carry a 7-11 bag
5) Be an adorable, little Japanese girl

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August 23, 2007

Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story by Chris Sheridan & Patty Kim

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Jonah and I went to the screening of this film last night thanks to New York - Tokyo. It is a very good film and a tremendously tragic story. If you don't know about the Japanese families who lives were shattered by North Korea's abduction of their children, you must see this film. This film pays just enough attention to the big picture and all the families affected without straying from the main story which is the kidnapping of Megumi Yokota, a 13 year old girl from Niigata, Japan and her parents' continued search for her. The DVD is due out in September and hopefully the film will make it to the big screen here and receive the rave reviews its enjoyed internationally. In the meantime here's a trailer.

A few highlights [warning - spoilers below]:

- Former Prime Minister Koizumi does the right thing by withholding food and medical aid to North Korea for the acknowledgment and subsequent return of (some of) the victims they kidnapped. However he then appears less honorable when he faces the weeping father of Megumi and explains that while the abduction issue is an important one so is that of nuclear weapons. 'Abduction issue' is such dispassionate wording! I can't even begin to imagine how incredibly difficult being a politician must be.

- The sponsor of the film screening, ANA (All Nippon Airways), was also the airline that flew home five of the 13 abductees. After the film and before the Q&A session with the film directors, an ANA representative told us that his boss was on the flight with the returning abductees. His boss offered one of the abductees a cigarettes which happened to be the very popular Japanese brand Mild Seven. The abductee politely declined saying that he could only smoke cigarettes of his country - meaning North Korea. Keep in mind that this is a Japanese guy who was abducted from Japan in his twenties. More and more I believe the disturbing notion that most people can be brainwashed without too much trouble.

- According to witnesses, Megumi arrived in North Korea after a 40 hour boat ride, without fingernails. She never ceased crying for her mother nor scratching at the iron door of the tiny compartment she was locked in.

For up to date information click here.

She's got photography style! Japan summer '07

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* Syuri Yoshida at Teppanyaki dinner in Nagoya.

Teppanyaki dinner, Japan summer '07

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* Thanks again to Nikon for their fantastically generous gift-loan of the D 80 - comes in especially hands at times like during teppanyaki dinner!

Shinkansen is 100 million times quieter than NYC subway, Japan summer '07

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* Shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Nagoya to visit our Japanese family, The Yoshidas.

August 22, 2007

Subway Sack Out, Japan summer '07

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* On the Inokashira Line to Inokashira Park at Kichijoji station.

No Phone/Yes Porn Subway, Japan summer '07

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* On the Inokashira Line to Inokashira Park at Kichijoji station.

Inokashira Park Outing, Japan summer '07

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Urinals *are* delicious!, Japan summer '07

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* Although I'd like to claim I braved the men's bathroom, I can't. Taken by my brother in former baseball star Kaku san's Taiwanese restaurant in Nagoya.

Individually wrapped ginger sticks, Japan summer '07

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* At the grocery store down the street from our apt in Sakuragaoka.

Fish in window/confusing photo, Japan summer '07

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* On Aoyama Dori between Shibuya and Omotesando.

August 21, 2007

Caught! Underage & Overage Drinking, Japan summer '07

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* Starring Syuri Yoshida, taken by my Japanese brother Hiromi at a teppanyaki restaurant in Nagoya.

August 19, 2007

Tokyo ---> NYC

I'll be trying out Air Canada today (I'll be sure to let you know if anything exciting happens) and stepping foot in Toronto for the first time. Oops - my mom just told me I've been to Toronto - I was four, we went to Niagara Falls, I wore a checkered dress and my brother who was one at the time wore a striped shirt.

!!!

Laterz!

August 16, 2007

2 earthquakes in 6 hours

As soon as I felt the earthquake last night I reverted back to the baby I am when it comes to earthquakes. I grabbed for my mom sleeping in the futon next to me and moaned, "Mommy~~Mommy~~". She held me and told me not to worry since all the buildings (especially new ones - but of course we didn't have time to get into details!) are built to withstand earthquakes. It actually made me feel better, well actually my brain felt better but my heart was still pumping strong. I suppose one has to somehow pay for the fortuitous prevalence of hot springs but it's still frightening. Makes sense that I live in no-earthquake NYC!

THERE WAS JUST ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE A SECOND AGO AND MY DAD BARELY LOOKED UP FROM HIS STUDIES, MY MOM STAYED GLUED TO THE JAPANESE SHOW SHE WAS WATCHING AND A TICKER RAN ACROSS THE TV SCREEN READING, "THERE WAS AN EARTHQUAKE AT 8:20 THIS MORNING".

I want to be calm about it too!! Searching for a qualude...

August 9, 2007

Reunited with my mixed race family! Tokyo summer '07

It feels great to be back home in Tokyo. Woke up this morning with that deeply content and peaceful feeling to be back where you come from!

Not sure how this happened but...I am white.

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My brother is brown. My mother is yellow.

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What does this Japanese girl have in common with a British girl? Tokyo summer '07

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World's saddest yogurt advertisement, Tokyo summer '07

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If he's titillated you, you can read more about him here.

August 8, 2007

Tokyo bound!

I will be traveling today and arriving in Tokyo tomorrow Thursday evening. Will post AESOP!

xoxo,
AH.com

August 6, 2007

Bath tub lover in training

This picture delights me to my core.

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July 16, 2007

Cool Japanese dolls, Paris '07

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* Window shopping in the Marais.

July 11, 2007

Heart-patterned chihuahua!

Read more about this Japanese heartthrob here!

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Thanks for the great link, Gemma!!

July 6, 2007

Japanese TV: Pranks!

I miss Japanese TV. Thank god for the few clips left on YouTube!

June 19, 2007

Geta gift

Thanks to my oniichan Hiromi for this cute geta painting that I just got framed!

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June 12, 2007

Eyelash wigs: How can you not love Japan???

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May 21, 2007

World's smallest laptop!

Until the next world's smallest laptop, let's enjoy this one for a second!

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* via BuzzFeed.

May 2, 2007

Fastest secretary in the world!

If only she were looking for a job in the US...working for me...

Thanks to my bro for the link!

Hip little Shanghai to Tokyo travel message from my dad

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Missing Tokyo...

And yes, I still call my parents Mommy and Daddy.

April 26, 2007

Asians are so weird.

Drinking video games - yum!

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&

Medical restaurants - yummier!

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Oh! Don't forget about air sex.

April 17, 2007

Fish therapy on your face!

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Omg, I am desperate for the fishies to nibble on my face of dead skin! No really, I mean that. I want to feel the suckling lips of fish and know that I'm getting the fishiest exfoliation treatment. I want fish to suck my face silly!!!

April 16, 2007

Non-Disposable Shopping Bag

Whoever sends in a photograph of themselves shopping in this and this only wins a prize!

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Thanks to Sally for knowing I'd have to post this!

April 11, 2007

Japanese Air Guitar Sex

Excerpt: I spend all my time doing air sex I haven't actually had real sex.


Thanks to my bro for the link and to people in general for being so funny and inventive!!

April 6, 2007

Introducing Leni Yoshida!!

My Japanese brother Yasushi and his lovely wife Keiko gave birth to their daughter Leni so now I am Andrea obasan!

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April 3, 2007

Photo from Tokyo: Cherry blossoms in full bloom!!

My oniichan Hiromi sent me this from his cell phone. It's in Fukazawa, an area of Tokyo and clearly the cherry blossoms are in full bloom! What I wouldn't give to be there...

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April 1, 2007

Happy April Fool's Day!

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* Tokyo '07, Shibuya Apt.

March 30, 2007

Goldfish live happily in deep fryer - I want to be this kind of inventor!!!

Truly incredible Japanese video. The inventor says it took him 10 years to achieve this. I can hardly wait for his next lightbulb above his head idea!

* via Kottke.

March 29, 2007

Tokyo '06: Sneakers, Cellphones, Shibuya, Taxis

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March 28, 2007

Tokyo '06: Shibuya girl

Believe it or not, she was trying to be cute:

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* Shibuya, Sentaa-gai.

March 9, 2007

Tokyo '06: Muji toe socks

Nothing like toe snugglers for winter!

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* Muji store, Aoyama.

Tokyo '06: YokuMoku tea and cake

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* YokuMoku, a pastry institution and tres chic cafe, Omotesando.

March 8, 2007

Tokyo '06: Kiddy Land booty

From Kiddy Land's website: For half a century, KIDDY LAND has provided fun times and helped make dreams come true for both children and grownups. And, by keeping abreast of changing times and lifestyles, you will find something new and exciting every time you visit.

Fun times...yes! For grownups, check! Abreast...yup and yup!

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* Kiddy Land, Harajuku.

Tokyo '06: Kishimen lunch

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* Restaurant in Mark City building, Shibuya

Tokyo '06: Prada Tokyo

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March 7, 2007

Must not see broken Asimo, Must not see broken Asimo, Must not see broken Asimo

Thanks to Hannah for the link!

March 6, 2007

Tokyo '06: Steakhouse Hama!

It was a typical Harner-Yoshida reunion - over delicious food!

En route in the nicest, cleanest cabs in the world!

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How cute are Keiko and my oniichan (Yasushi)!? My lurking Ojichan too!

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My obachan and mom out of focus but only literally (don't know exactly what this means but it feels right)!

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Now that we're here...group photo!!

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Let's start with some abalone shall we? Japanese tip/wives tale for pregnant ladies: if you are expecting a daughter and you eat lots of abalone, your daughter's complexion will be beautiful:

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Me and obachan! (I can't figure out the weird shadow cast over my face):

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And now for the shrimp. Cook it up, Chef! Cook. it. up!!

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Oh poor shrimps:

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Poor:

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Delicious:

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Shrimpies:

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Jonah, pregnant and incredibly cute Keiko and Oniichan:

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Ojichan (The OG), Edward and Pops:

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Oh the steak:

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Was so soft, flavorful and mouth-watering:

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It's hard to describe:

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But easy to taste and to recall tasting::

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Voila - in little bit-sized pieces which if I could have all my food that way I would!

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On our way out we spotted the raw goods:

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Jonah's very patient with my photo-taking:

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* Let me now state for the record that according to my palette, Japanese steak is the best steak in the world.

February 26, 2007

Moomin's Little My character hates piles!!!

Little My is an awesome little character from Moomin.

Excerpt about her winning personality: She is a small, determined and fiercely independent Mymble. When she wants something done, she does it straight away. She is very aggressive and totally disrespectful, but can be a good friend. She has a brash personality. She is Snufkin's half-sister.

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February 21, 2007

Reversible Destiny Condominiums

I love this trend because it highlights the importance of one's surroundings and how much environment affects people and their livelihood - it's great to see Japan embrace this!

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February 20, 2007

Drum Machine from Japan

Drum Machine is so cool - a perfect mix of cool, contemporary creativity inspired by traditional taiko drumming. Be patient during the first five seconds and you will be rewarded - volume up!

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* via Jonah's playing around on StumbleUpon.

February 16, 2007

Care package #5639 from Obachan

My Obachan (Japanese for grandmother) is an incredibly sweet, classy and generous lady. She continues to bring me close to tears with every care package she has sent over the 22 years that we've been family.

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February 9, 2007

Tokyo '06: Japanese food I love

Ramen!

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Japanese strawberry shortcake is in a league of its own (I would argue pastries regardless of where they originated from are best in Japan - they know how to take stuff from elsewhere and make it better!):

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Vending machine corn soup - I kid you not:

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February 6, 2007

THE MOST WEIRD & CUTE PENGUIN TALE - BEST VIDEO EVER - PROMISE!!!

February 5, 2007

Tokyo '06: Lupinas Apartments

Lupinas. Let's say it again. Le Pee Nas.

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Lupinas?!

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* Sakuragaoka, Tokyo

February 2, 2007

Tokyo '06: Kamakura Day Trip

From Tokyo, Kamakura is easily accessible by train.

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One can always afford to show enthusiasm!

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Let's check this out, shall we?

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But first, group photo:

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Then, we must wash our hands to ensure long life and to get the filth off:

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Cheese:

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Jonah is filled with wonder. Or checking out a plane in the sky:

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Temple steps - white lady and policeman:

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I wonder why I love vermillion. Might have something to do with the million and counting temples I've seen in my life:

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Wait. Another group photo! You can never take too many of those!

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Gotta love colors! I do!!

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God, save us from all evil & ...

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There was a bird in a white fur coat - no doubt, angora. Nice. Real nice.

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There's the elusive Buddha!

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Where?

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Where??

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Where???

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My dad simply refused to throw up his peace sign! Argh, frustrating!!

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Who's the Buddha now??!!

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Do you have Buddha hands? Me? Constantly. It's a state of mind, really.

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This was right around the time when Jonah said the Buddha's body was "buddha-licious" :-)

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The End:

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January 22, 2007

Tokyo '06: $200 melon

Don't know if I've ever eaten a $200 melon but Japanese melons are hands down the best melons I've ever had. I'm certain this melon was delicious.

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January 18, 2007

TOKYO STYLE REPRESENT! REPRESENT!!

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* Shibuya Sentaagai, 12.06

December 12, 2006

Waterproof laptop

...would be great appreciated!! Then I can finally showerblog!

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Thanks to BuzzFeed for introducing me to this great site for all things Japanese!

November 29, 2006

Don't accidentally wear a maid's costume in Akihabara

My maid costume's all packed and ready to be worn!

Pesky perverts pry on otaku's dolled-up maids.

Thanks to BuzzFeed for the heads up!

November 27, 2006

Please welcome Animated Hard Gay to this site.

He will live here for a long time.

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Japanese video #3621: Girl that looks like me when I was 15 battles her pet baby racoons

As per usual, an awesome video from Japan. Makes me miss Japan even more but I'll be there soon enough - just one month to go!!

November 10, 2006

Why can't all toilet seats be Japanese??

I miss a good rear cleaning:

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* Taken by Megu (Meg in Japanese) at Megu .

October 12, 2006

Dakota Fanning gets interviewed by her #1 Japanese boy fan

This is hilarious and uncomfortable, hilarious and uncomfortable...enjoy!

Hard Gay Steps Up to Yahoooooooo!

Thanks to my cousin Angelina for this!! Hard Gay runs in our family!

October 6, 2006

Hard Gay Saves a Ramen Shop: One of my top 3 all time favorite videos

I LOVE THIS. I LOVE JAPANESE TV. THANK GOD FOR YOUTUBE.

Is it spa time or slapstick time??? In Japan it's both

September 15, 2006

Top 5 Animals - Japanese TV 2004

The OCD terrier is my favorite:

Thanks to Nicole from Vancouver for the link!

September 8, 2006

Japan's Princess Kiko finally gives birth to a boy

You don't know what pressure is, people! reads the invisible thought bubble out of Princess Kiko's head.

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The royal family is saved.

* This news is late to grace this blog because it takes three days for news to travel from Japan to NYC.

August 30, 2006

Thanks to Zee in Japan we have this photo for our eyeballs to feast on

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Thanks for the great reportage, Zee Myers!

July 10, 2006

Haruki Murakami speaks out against the rise of Japanese Nationalism

Thank god for Murakami.

"Haruki Murakami has spoken about his fears for his country amid a rise in Japanese nationalism, and revealed plans to deal with the issue in his next novel."

via Kottke.

June 16, 2006

I miss Japan badly

Thanks to Zee who is living in Japan for the year we have radical photos of Japan!

I can't wait to become an older lady who wears sparkly purple shoes:

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Are the Japanese KFC chickens like the American ones that don't have beaks or asses?

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CUTE. CUTE. CUTE!

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Shibuya - where my parents just bought an apt - right inside the brightly lit store in between home electronics and home appliances:

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Post photo Zee cut down these branches for an unobstructed view:

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A gaijin trolls for Japanese chicks:

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I'm starving:

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Another reason to look forward to growing old:

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Mommy, I'm scared:

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Rain accommodation packaging. It's like the store loves their customers but hates the earth:

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There are times when I wish I weren't already married and now's one!!

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There's a special language for users of this underground walkway. It's hyper efficient, terse and robotic:

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Bam!! Boo!!!

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Zee's boyfriend Andy - he's constantly freeze framed like this:

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Real ninja stars!!!

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Zee's big eyeballs:

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Zee's dainty feet:

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Just like American public restrooms:

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For more Zee photos click here and here.

May 24, 2006

Polite Lies: On Being a Woman Caught Between Cultures

This book is interesting to me as most things Japanese are but it's also pitiful and offensive how much she 'takes out on' Japan, Japanese culture and people because of her miserable childhood and terrible memories of Japan.

If you feel like reading something that is annoying but sometimes also offers analysis and truths worth gleaning, here's the book for you!

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May 10, 2006

Underground : The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche

I am obsessed with this book right now. It's comprised of Murakami's interviews with the Sarin Gas Attack victims and the perpetrators. Can't put it down and have started taking baths every night so the book is 50% wet at any given time.

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April 24, 2006

Zee's Japan!

My buddy Zee Myers somehow got it in her head that because she's half Japanese she should live in Tokyo for a year. Well congratulations, Zee, you've punched your NYC friends in the stomach and made a great decision for yourself!

Thank god she bought a camera before she left and has been making good use of it.

Check out her Flickr account. Here are highlights:

Her living arrangement perfectly complements her OCD tendencies:

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Her BFFs:

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Her Tokyo diet:

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Her Tokyo diet continued:

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Her bathtub:

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A gaijin ruined the picture:

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Miss you and can't wait to see you in Tokyo in September!! Gennkidene!

February 13, 2006

Another great short story by Murakami

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As all Murakami stories it begins strangely...like this:

She sometimes had trouble remembering her own name. Usually this happened when someone unexpectedly asked what it was. Shed be at a boutique, getting the sleeves of a dress altered, and the saleswoman would say, Your name, Maam?, and her mind would go blank....

December 19, 2005

Bizarre Sushi Video

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Thanks to Chris Liptak for the link!

December 12, 2005

Pencil Carving Gallery

Check out these awesome Japanese creations!*

Faves:

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Thanks to my Mother in Law Della Peretti for the link!

October 20, 2005

I'm very into Haruki Murakami

Of course the coolest author has the coolest website.

A good, old Salon interview.

March 30, 2005

Ramen Revisited.

Thanks to my friend Amy who is currently living in China, I now have this bizarre but ultimately satisfying and appetite whetting photo as part of my archive:

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Amy, enough already! Come back to NYC!

January 10, 2005

For a Ham Good Time...

Check out this Nippon Ham website!

Japan has the yummiest ham sausage things I remember fondly.

If you're in the mood for an octopus-y dinner:

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Here's your guide (fyi, you'll need cucumbers to make the green bandanas for the octopi):

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Or if you prefer the simplicity of this ham elephant:

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This is your blueprint:

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I hope you're not too intimidated by all the animal shaped ham products that precede you.

Gannbatte~!

Thanks to my sorely missed friend Amy for this link!

November 30, 2004

A Night of Kyoto Theater

While in Japan this summer Jonah and I took a night bus tour of Kyoto which lasted only a few hours and in typically overpriced Japanese fashion cost 8,000 yen ($80) per person. The final stop on the tour was the theater which was run by the "strict spotlight method". This consists of all centimeters of the stage populated by actors and props for the entire duration while the strong spotlight strictly guides the audience's eyes to one particular activity at a time as the rest of the stage is blanketed in darkness. What then happens to some of us is that we want to stare at everything that's in the dark and not spotlighted because it's the same part of the brain that wants to laugh maniacally in a library. Accompanying this method was an overly enunciated Japanese-American voice narrating too dramatically. Here we see the aaaaancient aaaart of flower arraaaaangement, Ikebaaaaaana. Oh but it was worth it.

Especially for the dance theater:

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And the puppet theater:

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We were riveted:

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Oniichann: Kore wa jyoudann desu! Jitsuwa totemo tanoshikatta desu. Arigatou!

November 22, 2004

ULTRA Hanami...coming soon!

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Imagine enjoying sushi, sake and Japanese music while sitting under a cherry blossom canopy with falling digitally cultivated petals...

Having grown up in Japan I often miss and long for my hanami (cherry blossom viewing) memories so I've created an EYEBEAM Artists in Residence Benefit that features the cherry blossom footage I shot in the spring at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens with some computer graphics magic created in EYEBEAM's Moving Image Studios!

If you're in the New York area, please join us for what I promise will be a super fun and memorable evening!

Seating is limited to 100 so please purchase tickets soon.

And don't forget your party pants, party shoes and party 'tude!

November 17, 2004

Girlfriend's Lap Pillow & Boyfriend's Arm Pillow

There's no better joke to play on your significant other than to be cuddled up on someone's lap or in someone's arms when they get home...

With the help of these Japanese necessities and a little imagination on how to complete the picture, you've got your friendly gag!

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For further reading on Unuseless Japanese inventions, here's an important book.

* Thanks to Annie Liptak for the links!

November 16, 2004

Ramen, Eating & Japan

Food and eating may be the two things most resembling religion in Japan. It's not surprising then that having grown up in Japan, I am a devout food fanatic with Japanese cuisine coming in 1st and Chinese cuisine following closely behind. My Chinese mother is ok with this order of preference because she knows it's close enough not to relegate me to the disrespectful daughter category.

Here's a mouth-watering NYTimes article on ramen in NYC:

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And here's a little less mouth-watering look at eating taken a bit seriously...hee hee hee (my hand covers my mouth as I understate and giggle):

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May 18, 2004

Easy Peasy Japanesey

There is your life before...

and there is your life after watching this video...

It all begins with a karate chop:

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and ends with :

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February 13, 2004

~Super Mario never sounded so good~

Thanks to EYEBEAM reBlog, a new cool site by Eyebeam's R & D dept, we get web treasures like these in record time.

For those like me, who wasted perfectly fine, promise filled days playing the first Super Mario Bros for hours and days on end, tirelessly fighting to rescue the beautiful princess, you will love this.

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The music is beautiful, the talent is abundantly clear and best of all, the kid's attitude is priceless.

March 6, 2003

Tokyo HIPSTER

Tokyo HIPSTERS...Boy are they different from NYC hipsters. I saw this woman at a subway station in Tokyo and asked if I could take her picture...she was like (in Japanese of course), "Yeah! Wow! Thanks for taking my picture! That's so nice!"
Now, let's think about that for a moment...would a NYC "COOLER THAN THOU" HIPSTER be so nice? Don't think so! Or so cool? Perhaps not!!

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March 2, 2003

Feeling blah

I'm going to write this entry as a "normal" person and not as the world famous blogger that I am because I have bad days too, friends, family and fans! I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, endure bad hair days, accidentally put on my left satin slipper on my right foot, feel terrible about the millions I make as a blogger...uuugh, it's bringing me down just thinking about it!

So I woke up this morning with the "I feel ugly" blues...yes, I did...my servants were horrified and their inability to understand that I too suffer, propelled me further into the depths of despair so I sat up in my princess bed and angrily pushed away my breakfast in bed tray causing silverware, china, crystal, caviar and salmon to fall the 8 feet from my bed to my zebra skin rug and just spill, shatter and stain....wait, I'm sorry, where was I? Right, right...so I woke up today, looked out the window and it was gray and rainy and I felt blah...boy did I yearn for these treasures from Japan.

A little "LOVE BODY" drink would have REALLY given me the boost I needed:

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This "NEW SHAPE BODY" kit would have also come in handy:

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And finally, I could have firmed my fat face with these lovely products:

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February 28, 2003

Back in the HOT SEAT

Having grown up in Japan, I love WARM TOILET SEATS...not really the first kind you'll see below but the kind of toilet seat that comes with a built in seat warmer with temperature controls attached to the side of the seat for your very own butt heating pleasure. Much to my surprise, my American friends think I'm a freak! Can you imagine?! Your loss, fools!!

You know when you tell a family member, especially grandparent types that you like something and then you get tons and tons of that thing that you may have just mentioned liking in passing?

Well that has happned to me with toilet seat warmers. My Japanese grandmother (not actually related but may as well be) started by sending me the below, in care packages.

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Isn't the flower pattern beautiful?

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Then today, I received this package. Note the contents: Food and yup, that's right, you guessed it...TOILET SEAT COVERS!

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I couldn't wait to tear it open!!

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So here's the progression...

It begins with my lonely toilet seat:

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Lonely no longer!

Outfitted with Hot Seat!!

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Butt on Hot Seat:

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Finally! Reconnected with my roots, I am whole again:

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I'm PARTYING!!

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February 27, 2003

Treasures from Tokyo

Some souveniers from Tokyo...I've noted what the items are called...

"Joke Pants"

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"I Love Breasts"

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"Firming Gels"

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Video projects



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